Amber Isaac – A Tragic Example of Systemic Racism in Healthcare
Updated: Jun 7, 2020
Amber Isaac, a 26-year-old Afro-Latina woman from Bronx, NY, an excited new mom ready to give birth to her son, perished due to yet another flaw in the system. Unbeknownst to her, her last Tweet would set off the siren to rising issue of the subpar treatment of African Americans and persons of color in the health care system.
Amber took to Twitter on 4/17/2020 stating, “Can’t wait to write a tell all about my experience during my last two trimesters dealing with incompetent doctors at Montefiore.” She knew that she needed to be seen for an in person prenatal exam however due to COVID-19 and hospital policies was unable to. Knowing that her diagnoses of having a low platelet count and the complications which could result, she knew it was imperative that she went to the hospital as she did on 4/21/2020. She was admitted and rushed into and emergency C-section, 1 month prior to her due date, that she did not survive. She died alone never having met her son Elias.
Amber’s family do not feel as though she received proper treatment from Montefiore Medical Center. Her partner Bruce McIntyre III also complained believing that he did not believe she was receiving the same treatment as her white counterparts. The family also divulged in various interviews that the hospital sent them a bill for $2000 after her death.
Montefiore defends their care of Amber and the hospitals maternal mortality rate being 0.01% lower than the national average and that of the state of NY.
Black women are 2-3 times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than that of their white peers prior to the corona virus pandemic in the U.S. NY has even higher rates, with black women dying at a rate of 8 times higher. (NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene).
The pandemic has caused it to be increasingly hard especially in NY, who was the epicenter, became dependent on telehealth appointments as a replacement to in-person exams where vital signs and blood testing could be administered. Had Amber been seen and cared for properly she could have been saved from HELLP Syndrome, a pregnancy related complication only a small number of women die from in the U.S. It is found during prenatal care when testing is administered properly.
McIntyre has since begun to increase awareness of maternal mortality by starting the Save a Rose Foundation. He released a statement of Facebook, “Her legacy will continue as she changes the course of history. Amber Rose Isaac has left her mark on this planet. We must stand for our people, we cannot let them continue to change the course of our lives, we must gain control.”
Amber’s story has caught the attention of local advocates including Black Lives Matter NY, who are pushing to make sure her story is not looked over.
Differences in healthcare and treatment due to race and financial status is another large part of the overall systemic racism issue. The lack of medical care for black and brown women is a hurdle we must also get over to ensure that all women are being treated as equals when it comes to our right to proper healthcare.
Author: Kierstin Tonic
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Mompreneur,
Novice Cigar Aficionado,
Located in Willingboro, NJ
IG: @ktonicwrites, @smoke_n_whiskey8